Instagram has changed its algorithm over the last few years, making it much more difficult for you to share visible posts on Instagram. It gives top priority to posts made by users’ friends and family, with less likelihood of business posts being added to people’s queues. It provides even less weighting to business posts that include links likely to take people away from the Instagram app. To succeed on Instagram, businesses need to play the game well. And that includes picking the best time to post on Instagram, targeting a time when people look at their Instagram accounts, but which doesn’t coincide with the time when most people upload their Instagram content.
Indeed, that is a tough juggle. Do you want to make your post available at the time when most people are checking their Instagram accounts, even though all your competitors will be trying to do the same? Alternatively, should you focus on uploading your content at a quieter time, without worrying about the opposition, even though that may mean that fewer people will be opening their Instagram apps to check for new content?
You could manually determine this for yourself. Schedule your posts, preferably for at least a month, over a range of times (ideally over 24 hours, 7 days a week). Take note of your engagement over this test period. Are there any apparent trends – a “best” time on a “best day?
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When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2020:
- Free Instagram Post Times Planner
- The Single Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2020
- Engagement is Usually Your Number 1 Priority on Instagram
- There is a Big Difference Between Content and Compelling Content
- Studies on the Best Time to Post on Instagram
- Key Considerations When looking for the Best Times to Post on Instagram
- More Detailed List of Best Posting Times
We have developed the Instagram Post Times Optimizer Tool, to help you post at the exact right times, so as to maximize your engagement rates based on your most active follower location time zones and research of over 12 million instagram posts. Optimize your Instagram Post Times Here.
The Single Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2020
You are probably hoping that we can give you a definitive time to make your Instagram posts. Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple – there are too many variables.
Most of the studies we have looked at did pick a “best” time for your Instagram post. Please note, though, these do depend on time zone, and not all posts use the same time zone in their recommendations. The bulk of these surveys stated CT (Central Time US) in their findings.
Although you will presumably post more than once per week, the various studies suggest the following times as the best:
- HubSpot - between 2 PM and 3 PM – Thursday the best day
- Sprout Social - Wednesday at 11 AM and Friday at 10–11 AM
- Expert Voice - Wednesday: 11 AM and 3 PM (doesn’t specify time zone)
- Later – 9 AM-11 AM EST
Considering the variations in the different studies, it is better to look at a wider selection of times, rather than just a best time to post on Instagram – you are going to post more than once a week anyhow if you want to succeed.
Engagement is Usually Your Number 1 Priority on Instagram
Although each firm is different, most businesses aim to build as much engagement as possible on their Instagram account. Traditional Instagram engagement includes likes and comments. More recently, people have begun to add views, shares, and direct messages as well. Then you can further add the above types of engagement of Instagram spin-offs, such as Instagram Stories and IGTV.
This means that there is no longer a clear-cut definition of engagement, but it does include all interactions between your social followers/customers and your business on Instagram.
HubSpot data shows the surprising fact that the average Instagram post receives 5,963 likes. You might look at your own Instagram account statistics and feel profoundly disillusioned by that fact. However, that number is the mean – heavily influenced by viral posts shared by influencers. HubSpot found that the median number of likes received on an Instagram post is much nearer 100; meaning that half of all Instagram posts receive fewer than 100 likes.
The mean figures for comments on an Instagram post are similarly inflated by influencers. When you include these mega-posts, the average Instagram post earns 100 comments (up to 150 comments for video posts). If you remove viral videos from the calculations, though, the median number of comments per video post falls to 4.
There is a Big Difference Between Content and Compelling Content
One of the most important facts to come from the above figures is that there is little point in creating content for the sake of it. Compelling content can perform superbly and generate exceptional engagement rates. Run-of-the-mill content is scarcely worth the effort of creating it.
But you must add posting times into the mix. You might create compelling content. But if you share it at the wrong time, nobody will see it. If people don’t see it, they can’t like it, share it, or comment on it.
There will have undoubtedly been much amazing content shared on Instagram over the years that have vanished without a trace, simply because nobody got the opportunity to see just how good it was. This is even more relevant now with the current Instagram algorithm.
Studies on the Best Time to Post on Instagram
Several organizations have carried out investigations over the last couple of years to determine the best time to post on Instagram. Naturally, they don’t fully agree with each other, but some clear trends show through.
Among the studies we have looked at are:
- HubSpot’s When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2019?
- Sprout Social’s Best Times to Post on Social Media
- Expert Voice’s Best Time to Post on Instagram
- Later’s Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2019
- Multiple studies aggregated in CoSchedules’s Best Times to Post on Social Media in 2018 Based on Research
Key Considerations When looking for the Best Times to Post on Instagram
Day of the Week
There can be some variation in Instagram engagement, even at the same time of the day on different days of the week. For example, you might be surprised to see 5 AM included in the above list. The reason for this is that people often check their phone for messages as soon as they wake during the working week. This means that people are more likely to check their Instagram early in the morning Monday to Friday than at weekends. But even Monday can have lower engagement, as people are rushing to get the week started, and have less time to look at Instagram before work on a Monday.
Breaks in the Workday
You will find that many people check their Instagram during their work breaks, particularly at lunchtime.
Similarly, people’s interest in their work flags in the late afternoon and quite a few turn their attention to Instagram instead.
Use Time Zones to Your Advantage
The wider the geographical spread of your audience, the less critical set posting times become. However, if your target audience is in one location, make sure you use that time zone as the basis for setting your Instagram posting times, even if it isn’t your own time zone.
If you want to make an Instagram post at wake-up time, you want to make it the time when the bulk of your audience is just waking and getting up for the day.
Follow Your Specific Audience
It’s all okay to follow these “best practice” posting times. But if your audience is different from a typical audience, then these posting times are irrelevant for your account.
If you have a Business Instagram account (as every business and influencer should) you have access to Instagram Insights. Go to the Followers section of Instagram Insights, and you will discover information about when your audience is most active on the platform. It makes sense that you structure your posting practices to match this.
Some of the social media management platforms, such as Later, also include data about when your Instagram audience is online.
Frequency of Posting on Instagram
You need to post regularly if you want your Instagram account to appear fresh. This can be as much as one to three posts per day. Share a mix of different post types, making sure that you don’t come across as too interested in just making sales. You need to focus on producing quality posts ahead of bulk quantity, however.
Different Sectors Prefer Posts at Different Times
To add to the confusion, your best posting times will depend on the sector in which you operate. For example, HubSpot’s data shows a clear variation:
- Best Times to Post on Instagram for Technology Companies: Wednesday at 10 AM
- Best Times to Post on Instagram for B2C Companies: Saturday at 11 AM and 1 PM
- Best Times to Post on Instagram for Educational Organizations: Monday at 8 PM
- Best Times to Post on Instagram for Healthcare Companies: Tuesday at 1 PM
- Best Times to Post on Instagram for Non-Profit Organizations: Tuesday at 3 PM and 9 PM, Wednesday at 3 PM and 4 PM, Thursday at 2 PM & 3 PM, and Friday at 10 AM & 2 PM.
Sprout Social looks at a few additional sectors:
- Best Times to Post on Instagram for Consumer Goods Companies: Wednesday at 3 PM
- Best Times to Post on Instagram for Media Companies: Friday at 9 AM
More Detailed List of Best Posting Times
While deciding a single best time to post on Instagram is tricky, and in all honesty, pointless, most of these studies have come up with a series of good posting times. Here are some suggestions (again, all expressed in CT and ignoring sectors):
- Sunday: 10 AM – 2 PM CDT
- Monday: 11 AM – 5 PM CDT
- Tuesday: 5 AM, 9 AM – 6 PM CDT
- Wednesday: 5 AM, 11 AM, *3 PM CDT
- Thursday: *5 AM, *11 AM, *3 – 4 PM CDT
- Friday: *5 AM, 9 AM – 4 PM CDT
- Saturday: 11 AM CDT
Times marked with * offer particularly high levels of engagement.
- Wednesday at * 11 AM
- Friday at *10–11AM
- Wednesday is the overall best day
- Tuesday through Friday, 10AM–3PM
- Monday: 6AM, 10AM, 10PM
- Tuesday: 2AM, 4AM, 9AM
- Wednesday: 7 AM, 8 AM, 9 AM
- Thursday: 7AM< 8AM, 11PM
- Friday: 5AM, 1PM, 3PM
- Saturday 11 AM, 7 PM, 8 PM
- Sunday: 7AM, 8AM, 4PM
Unfortunately, as you can see, there is no single best time to post on Instagram. However, you can get a general idea of popular times from the recent studies, and then combine it with your actual data from your Instagram Insights to get a good guide to the Instagram habits of your audience.